I thought that I would re-post Isolation in case anyone missed it on my spaces.com page. It is part of a list of editorials I am creating called The Mamablogue. So far there are
and I think I slipped something about kids into My Car is Canadian. That counts.
Also, I may expand and adapt Gum and Blinding Snowstorm into Mamablogues. Collect all six.
I was thinking about isolation tonight at work. I work as a data encoder for the post office. It’s a really isolating work environment, despite the 800 other employees orbiting around you. Everyone is listening to their own headphones, avoiding eye contact, and basically acting like members of the Borg.
The thing is, it’s nobody first choice of jobs. No kid says to himself, “When I grow up, I want to work all night at the fish market, or the personal hygiene plant, or the post office.” Most self-respecting people would go out of their way to locate a different job.
But not me. I’m pretty much self-respecting, but the isolation suits me. All day long I gotta run around behind kids picking up the carnage they leave in their wake. Like poops behind the 4-H entry at the parade. I’m really just a glorified pooper-scooper, except I don’t even get the clown disguise. And all day long I gotta keep my mouth going with “stop it right now,” “finish your lunch,” “it’s time to go potty,” “stop yelling at your sister,” and “for the love of all that is good and holy will you just shut up?” It’s mentally taxing to say these things.
The only thing the post office wants from me is to sit down, relax, and be quiet. The isolation is a bonus. Like finding a ten dollar bill in your pocket when you’re doing laundry. No, like swiping a ten dollar bill from your husband’s pocket when you’re doing the laundry.
While the isolation at work comes with peace and quiet, the isolation I find at home does not. The kids are like little tiny co-workers orbiting around my legs wherever I go. They keep other people away. It’s actually more like they are valence electrons, repelling everything around us. Except poor husbandium, who is ionically bound to us.
I thought my mom was just a pair on legs until I was eight, and after that she was just the person who lectured, “stop it right now,” etc. while my eyes glazed over. I didn’t even know she was a real person, and this is embarrassing to admit, until I was something like seventeen. I wonder if she felt isolated, too.
Since I work at Nobody’s Dream Job, I come back day after day for one reason: moolah. Same as everyone else who works there. That kind of connects us all, even in our isolating environment. Everyone at home, that is to say me, the electrons, and husbandium, are all here for a common reason yet unknown. Some of us are trying to grow up. Some of us are trying to slim down. Some of us poop our pants. Some of us wash the pants. I can’t figure out the common denominator. I can’t figure out what we’re trying to accomplish as this isolated molecule, spinning through the universe, repelling everything in our path.
The things that isolate the members of our family from the world are one thing. The things that isolate us from each other are another. For instance, I don’t like to play Candyland. I don’t like to sit in the snow and play trains. I don’t like to fix people lunch. I don’t like to jump like a Sharp-tooth. I don’t even like to watch when someone says, “Watch this, mom, I can jump like a Sharp-tooth.” So when people ask me to do these things, it just isolates us all, in addition to getting on my nerves.
When my kids gets on my nerves I eat chocolate chips strait from the bag if we have them, or I drive to downtown Tooele and get a big-acre soda at the gas station. These things, if you think about it, hard, actually bring us closer as a family. For one, when I eat chocolate chips, I am trying to grow too, instead of slim down. And when I get a big-acre soda, I gotta take the kids with me, otherwise I might go to jail.
The way these things balance each other out is really amazing, don’t you think? Even the most isolating things can bring us together.